Salem Radio Network News Wednesday, December 6, 2023

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One police officer killed, another hurt in Kosovo gunfire – PM Kurti

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By Fatos Bytyci

North Mitrovica, Kosovo (Reuters) -One Kosovo police officer was killed and another injured during a shooting in a village in the north of Kosovo early on Sunday, in the first such major violence in months, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti said in a statement.

“At this moment, gunfire with various caliber firearms against our police is still ongoing,” Kurti said in a post on Facebook, describing the incident as terrorist action. “The attackers are professionals wearing masks and heavily armed.”

Kosovo police said in a statement that early on Sunday, two heavy vehicles without license plates were positioned on a bridge in the village of Banjska, blocking the entrance and firing at the police units that arrived “with an arsenal of firearms, including hand grenades and arm launchers”.

NATO troops, along with members of the EU police force EULEX and Kosovo police, could be seen patrolling the road leading to Banjska, according to a Reuters reporter.

“Serbia’s ‘little green men’ with armoured vehicles are 15 km inside Kosovo territory (Banjska), where a terror attack against Kosovo police resulted in a police officer being killed & another wounded,” Blerim Vela, chief of staff to Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani, said in a post on social media platform X.

Reuters could not verify Vela’s comments.

In her own post on X, Osmani condemned what she said was a terrorist attack by Serbian criminal groups.

There was no immediate reaction on the incident from Serbian officials.

Tensions have run high in Kosovo, the former Serbian province, after clashes in May when more than 90 NATO peacekeeping soldiers and some 50 Serb protesters were injured in northern Kosovo.

Ethnic Albanians form more than 90% of the population in Kosovo, with Serbs being the majority only in its northern region where a Serb-majority municipalities association is planned.

EU-sponsored talks on normalising relations between the two former wartime foes stalled last week, with the block’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell blaming Kurti for failing to set up the association of Serb-majority municipalities which would give them more autonomy.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; writing by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Jamie Freed and Bernadette Baum)

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